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RU Getting the Most Out of Txting?
Texting has quickly become the favored mode of communication between friends and family, outpacing voice calls and emails. But how do consumers feel about businesses using text to communicate with them? Turns out, they are receptive to it. A nationwide survey found that individuals actually read 82 percent of text messages sent from businesses within five minutes of receiving them.
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Real Estate Video Marketing Using Just Your Phone
Real estate videos for marketing don't have to be complicated and they don't have to be fancy. You can make marketing videos marketing using just your phone--and the video will still get lots of views and engagement. One of my favorite videos to use for real estate marketing is what we call a "Walk Through" video. Like the name implies, the video is simply walking and talking about the home or a specific feature in the home.
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How to Shoot a House for Under $16
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How to Pair AirPods with Any Device
Apple AirPods are the most popular wireless headphones in the world. Some 12.5 million of these Q-Tip shaped earbuds were shipped in the last quarter of 2018, commanding an astonishing 60 percent of the market. Not bad for a technology that debuted two-and-a-half years ago. The second generation of Apple AirPods are now available, and the demand is expected to continue to soar for these Bluetooth wonders that have become a Millennial status symbol priced at $160 for a set.
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No Internet? Here's How to Set Up Your Own Hotspot
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Are You Married to Your Smartphone? How to Divorce Amicably and Still Be a Top Producing Realtor
Our smartphone is our constant partner. It is always with us. Although there is no formal agreement, "til death do us part" is not an unrealistic relationship when it comes to our smartphone. We use it to connect with our clients, friends, family, leads and just about everyone. It's our GPS. It's our news outlet. It's our even our source of entertainment. When we go to sleep, it is next to us on our nightstand or not too far away.
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[Best of 2018] 6 Unorthodox Ways to Use Airplane Mode on Your Phone
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Do Real Estate Agents Need Apple's New iPhone XS?
Smartphones play bigger and bigger roles in our lives, to the point that many people manage their livelihood through their phone. With smartphones having such an impact on our day-to-day lives, it's important to keep up with the latest technology. One of the latest updates came on September 12, when Apple unveiled its latest iPhones. Among these are the iPhone XS (starting at $999) and iPhone XS Max (starting at $1,099). However, while many were expecting a revolutionary new device, Apple instead offers a better, faster version of its predecessor. They explained that the "iPhone XS is everything you love about iPhone. Taken to the extreme." In other words, it is a much better, faster version of the iPhone X. So then, the question real estate agents should be asking themselves becomes, "Do I need one?"
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Friday Freebie: Text Messaging Stickers for Real Estate
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6 Unorthodox Ways to Use Airplane Mode on Your Phone
What can you accomplish when you cut your smartphone off from the world? No wi-fi, no voice, no data--nothing but literal radio silence? A whole lot, it turns out. Last month, we showed you a neat Instagram trick using Airplane Mode (the fastest way to go "radio silent" on your phone). There are plenty more creative uses for Airplane Mode, so today we're going to show you a sampling of the best.
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8 Accessories that Give Your Smartphone Superpowers (Part 2)
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8 Accessories that Give Your Smartphone Superpowers (Part 1)
Want to soup up your mobile phone? Rather than relying on apps for that (as we so often do), let's head down the road less travelled instead. Today, we're exploring the world of physical accessories that work with--and enhance--your smartphone. Enter the World of Smartphone Accessories That's right, we're ditching the digital in favor of things that attach to or sync to your phone and boost its functionality. And we have to say, there are a LOT of different types of mobile phone accessories--so much so that we've broken up this article into two parts. Today, we're taking a look at accessories that enhance the multimedia capabilities of your phone, and make those photos and Facebook Live videos so much better.
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Geotagging: How It Can Put You at Risk, and 4 Ways to Stay Safe
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It's About Time iOS Got These 5 Updates
For the last couple years, Apple has released the newest version of their iPhone, along with their iOS update in September. This year, is no different! Apple released their iOS 11 update for all their mobile devices alongside their iPhone 8. This update gives Realtors® new features that weren't available before, which you can incorporate into your daily business activities.
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How Mobile Tech Is Changing Real Estate Forever
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Top Phones for Real Estate Professionals in 2017
There is no 'best' phone for real estate professionals as everyone's needs differ. You may prioritize the phone's operating system for better communication apps, while your colleague may put more importance on the two-way camera to take selfies at his desk. I sat down with smartphone enthusiast Jeremy de Souza to break down this year's top phones. Let's take a look at what he told me re: the best phones from world's leading smartphone brands in 2017:
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Top 10 Considerations for Real Estate Professionals in Choosing a Smartphone
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What to Do When Your Smartphone Falls into the Water
Kerplunk! That may be the most dreaded sound a smartphone user can ever hear. If your cell phone has ever dropped in the water, you know exactly what I mean. Here are some things you can do when your smartphone decides unexpectedly to take a bath.
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Photos Taking Up Too Much Space? A Few Tips to Compress
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5 Ways to Unlock the Power of a Lockbox with Mobile
The lockbox has evolved well beyond its beginnings as a simple, secure storage place for keys. Thanks to today's mobile technology, lockboxes have become the Swiss army knife of real estate tools. No doubt you've used your phone's Bluetooth® capability to release the shackle of your lockbox or open the key compartment. But did you know there's plenty more features your phone or tablet can help you unlock? Here are five ways your favorite mobile device can help you unlock the full power of the lockbox—and even help you sell more listings. 1. Pull up listing information instantly Want to start impressing buyers from the moment you walk into a home for a showing? REALTORS® who use SentriLock lockboxes can when they use the SentriSmart™ mobile app. Thanks to integrations with RPR, HomesnapPRO and HomeSpotter, agents can instantly view listing details when they unlock a property's lockbox. Here's how it works: after accessing the lockbox with the SentriSmart™ mobile app, SentriSmart™ asks if you want to view the property's information in one of SentriLock's partner apps. Select your preferred app and SentriSmart™ will automatically direct you to the property details page of the home you're showing. That way, you'll instantly have all the information you need on hand to answer your buyer's questions.
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Top Mobile Tech Tips for Real Estate Pros
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Professional Looking Photos Don't Have to Cost a Fortune: Smartphone Photography
Not long ago, you either had to have a professional grade camera (along with the knowledge of how to use it) or hire a professional photographer to take your listing photos to compete with the images you see in magazines and on the web. Thanks to the advancement of today's mobile technology, you can take and edit professional looking images on your phone. Taking great photos on your mobile device isn't just point and shoot; some skill is required. However, there's no secret to amazing photos; with just a few tips and tricks, you can capture the perfect image and add the finishing touches right from your phone. Clean Your Lens This might seem like a given, but you would be surprised at how many people post blurry images due to oil residue or dust particles that have collected on their lens. Your phone is constantly traveling between your pocket, purse, or bags; the lens is being touched; makeup and other things are falling on it, and even the oil from your hands creates a film on it. Keep a glass wipe handy and wipe the lens before using the camera. Composition (Using Gridlines) Rule of Thirds By turning on your camera's gridlines (which can be found in the settings section in almost all mobile devices), you will enable a series of lines (two vertical and two horizontal) superimposed on your screen which will separate your image into nine sections. The "rule of thirds" is a photography principle that states that by placing focal points along the intersecting lines, your photo will appear more balanced, leveled, and create a more natural flow throughout the image.
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Six Tips for Maximizing Battery Life in iOS 10
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Quick Tips for Taking Better Listing Photos with Your iPhone
Done correctly, photography can capture the essence of your listings and inspire potential buyers. Are you following the best practices? In this video the pros at Bay East Video share the secrets to taking better real estate photos and truly showcasing your listings. The insight at 0:50 is key!
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Best of 2016: 5 Basic Tips for Taking Great Photos With Your iPhone
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Tips for Taming Your Inbox: Managing Your Notifications
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that the average office worker is interrupted or changes tasks, on average, every three minutes and five seconds. As a result of interruptions or multitasking, it can take 23 minutes and 15 seconds just to get back to where they left off. That adds up to a lot of wasted time in the day! Email can easily be one of those distractions if not properly managed. Over the next few months, we will share some useful tips to help you tame your inbox in order to be more productive and minimize distractions that take you away from the real business of real estate. Manage Notifications Today, we have all kinds of notifications interrupting us throughout the day – email, alerts, Facebook, chats, etc. One way to minimize email distractions is to eliminate email notifications. Not every email is important and requires an immediate response. For emails that are truly urgent or require immediate attention, you can enable selective notifications to be alerted when you receive emails from VIP senders. How to Set Up VIPs on Your iOS Device iPhone users using the native mail app can denote any email sender as a VIP. When you receive an email from a VIP, you will receive a pop up notification on your phone. Launch the Mail app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad. Tap Mailboxes in the upper left corner of your screen. Tap the VIP inbox directly underneath your regular inbox. Tap Add VIP. Tap on the name of the contact you'd like to add to VIP. If a contact is grayed out, it means you're missing their email address and can't add them until you enter it. After you tap on their name, they'll be automatically added to your VIP inbox.
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Texting for the 21st Century Real Estate Agent
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Must-have Car Tech Can Make a Real Difference for Realtors
It's common knowledge that a home and a car are the two biggest purchases in a person's life. And when you think about it, Realtors are in a unique position to know a lot about both. That's because a lot of their business is done in the car, and their knowledge of homes and clients requires them to be constantly mobile. Advances in car technology can help make that business so much easier. Smartphone integration In a business where missing a call can mean missing out on a sale, it's obviously vital — and safer — to have a hands-free phone system in your car. But though a basic Bluetooth setup may be fine for most folks, Realtors should consider the more comprehensive smartphone-integration technologies like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. With these, after you connect your compatible smartphone to your car's infotainment system, your phone's home screen is projected onto the vehicle's touchscreen. You can access your contacts and calendar, but the big benefit is that you also can leverage an increasingly wide range of other phone functionalities, along with popular mobile apps, while on the go. For example, depending on your phone, you'll be able to use Apple Maps or Google Maps for navigation. Both provide a brand-specific user experience and plenty of unique ways to help you get to your next showing, and there's also a notable value involved: Since you don't need a traditional in-vehicle nav system with smartphone integration, you don't have to pay for one.
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How Can You Use 'REmojis' to Connect with Your Clients and Leads?
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5 Ways to Market Yourself While You Get Your Morning Coffee
The number one thing holding most agents back from executing an effective marketing plan is a lack of time. Easy Agent Pro breaks down the five tools at your disposal that will allow you to market yourself like a pro the next time you’re in line at a Starbucks. Tip #2 is a huge time-saver!
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How the iPhone 7 Can Improve DIY Real Estate Video and Photography
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Beacon Technology Delivers the Information Your Buyers Want Immediately
Real estate trends for 2016 are constantly boasting about technology designed to make businesses better. Typically, however, the ones that don't fall flat are those offering a smoother home buying experience for the customers and allowing agents to build more customer-centered services. What is the current customer experience? An online search, followed by an awkward walk-through or open house, fragmented by sign-in sheets, unanswered questions, doubts on who to trust or turn to, a wrinkled show sheet, and a frustrating ride home. The sale? A wildcard based on customer/agent information gathering. What if that experience could result in more? Buyers find an open house on their phone or mobile device. Walking in, the mobile device prompts them to register. On consent, their info is delivered to the agent's inbox. As buyers look around, property details and agent information are automatically delivered via smartphone. After visiting, agents can collect data on whether the information was viewed or deleted, allowing them to classify leads/data. Overall a seamless, elegant, modern experience. The best part? Everyone gets what they need.
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5 Real Estate Apps that Used Augmented Reality Way Before Pokemon Go
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RPR Mobile for Your Smartphone: Big Data, Powerful Reports – Anytime, Anywhere (7/13)
Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 9:00 AM PDT RPR Mobile delivers RPR's vast repository of property information and tools anytime, anyplace, to any iPhone or Android phone. Use your phone's location to instantly view any property nearby, or search for properties to find listing, sales, valuation, assessment, deed, foreclosure, school, photos, maps, and market trend information...create, customize, view, save, and send RPR reports with your added photos, audio, and text notes. Download today at the App Store or Google Play, and join us for this comprehensive review of all the powerful features of this great REALTOR-only tool. Register now!
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Fast Phone Hacks: 3 Ways to Respond to Leads and Clients in 30 Seconds or Less
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Discover MLS-Touch! (6/22)
Wednesday, June 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM PDT MLS-Touch is the application you've been waiting for... and we want to take a few minutes to show you what it can do! MLS-Touch is the most powerful mobile MLS solution packed with features like map search, instant sales comparables, quick access to your listing inventory, email multiple listings and the InstaView which can get you details of the property in front of you instantly. Available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, this feature-packed mobile application will allow you to research and show homes, respond to information requests, set up future showings, and much more! Register now!
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Didn’t Download the Top 10 Apps of 2016? Maybe You Don’t Need to…
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5 Basic Tips for Taking Great Photos With Your iPhone
Every day we see an increase in people replacing their digital cameras with their smartphones to take pictures. This is mainly because manufacturers are adding some incredible lenses to smartphones that make it a very convenient device to capture daily moments and upload them quickly to social media apps. Smartphone cameras do not provide the quality photos that a good digital camera can provide, which are recommended for listings. Nevertheless, here at Tech Helpline, we see a trend of agents using their smartphones to take pictures for their listings. For this reason, today we will show you some quick tips on how to get the best possible image using an iPhone with iOS 9. All features listed below are available on the iPhone 5 or newer. 1. Use Auto Focus (AF) This is the most important feature to use. Without using this option, your image could appear blurry or lose detail. Here is what you do: Tap the area on your screen that you wish to focus on, remove your finger and wait a couple of seconds to allow the camera to focus on the subject before taking the photo. You can also tap and hold the area on your screen, until the yellow "AE/AF LOCK" appears (Auto-Exposure/ Auto-Focus Lock). This will allow you to take photos from different angles without losing focus on the subject.
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Go Mobile or Go Home: Texting and Mobile Strategies
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7 Actionable Mobile Trends for Real Estate Agents
The year is 2016 and it seems that everywhere we turn, there’s new technology cropping up. Throughout it all, mobile technology not only continues to improve exponentially, but it’s nearly ubiquitous. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a mobile device these days. But, what does that mean for real estate agents? According to the NAR, in 2015, 50% of home buyers used mobile technology to find their new home. Most real estate agents spend very little time in their offices and they’re nearly always on-the-go, making mobile technology ideal for their business lifestyles. But are they all utilizing it to the fullest extent? There are plenty of reasons for real estate agents to integrate mobile into their business strategy, but they may not be aware of all the resources available to them for doing so, and how these trends could potentially make a huge difference in their day-to-day.
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MightyText Brings Advanced Texting Technology to Android
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4 Tips to Get More Leads to Respond to Your Texts
The world is more mobile than ever. Consumers are engaging with real estate in new ways, thanks to their mobile phones. According to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, nearly half of buyers said it was important to them that their agent sends property information and communicates via text message. TigerLead's Senior Performance Product Manager, Hugo Cortes, recently analyzed over 20,000 text messages to find out which types of texts got the best response. The internal study found that TigerLead clients that start texting their leads typically see 1 out of 5 leads respond to their texts. However, the best performing text messages get responses from 1 out of every 2 leads! Here are 4 tips to get more leads to respond to your text messages: 1. Always start with the lead's name: "Hi Nancy," Consumers are rightfully suspicious whenever they receive a text message from an unknown number. Using their name as either the first or second word in your message immediately adds credibility and keeps them reading the rest of the message. 2. Identify yourself: "this is Hugo Cortes with TigerLead." Consumers are still trying to figure out who they're receiving this message from and how you know their name. Some clients prefer to give their name and company at the end of the message, but we've found that texts get more responses when you mention it up front.
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Five Ways GPS Technology Has Transformed Real Estate
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Real Estate Lead Texting: When and What to Text for Phenomenal Response Rates
In today's quick-paced, digital age, home buyers have less time – and less patience. When they see a house they are interested in, they are no longer satisfied with driving home, contacting the listing agent, and waiting for a response. In fact, 49% of buyers expect an instant response from the agent. Today's home buyer wants information now, and if the listing agent isn't available to deliver it, that potential real estate lead has likely moved on to an agent who is. There are 6.8 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions in the world, and 81% of cell phone owners use their phone to send or receive text messages, according to Pew Research Center. We use them because they're fast, convenient, and more likely than not, always within arm's reach. In fact, almost half of cell owners have slept with their phones next to their bed, not wanting to miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night. Text messaging is the most popular application on smart phones, and 40% of home buyers prefer communicating with an agent by text over phone calls. Additionally, text messages have an open rate of 98%. Nearly every single text message sent is opened and read. How can real estate agents harness this opportunity and use text messaging to capture leads? Here are some best practices for when and what to text your real estate leads.
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A Quick Look at Apple Watch OS2
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Sneak Peek: The iPhone 6s Puts Your Productivity on Steroids
September is coming up roses for Apple fans. Not only did the company release iOS 9 today, but the latest iPhone is due to be released in just over a week. Pre-orders are already underway for the iPhone 6s, and users are excited for the upgraded camera (which gains 4MP over its predecessor), the Live Photo feature, aerospace-grade casing, and beyond. But it's the new 3D Touch feature that got us excited. Why? Because more than any of the other spiffy new bells and whistles, 3D touch has the potential to revolutionize your productivity. Here's how. What is 3D Touch? 3D Touch is a new technology that measures the pressure of your finger on the screen. On the iPhone 6s, a light touch performs a different action than a medium touch or a firm touch. Take email, for example. A soft touch from the inbox view will let you preview a message without opening it, as seen in the image below.
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How to Back Up Your Text Messages, Email, Calendars, and More
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High Tech Wardrobe: 5 Wearables for Real Estate Agents
If you've paid any attention to tech news, or even fashion reports, in the last six months, you've probably heard about the Apple Watch. But with all the media buzz, it's likely you didn't know that there's a world of other smart wearables available to you, from Android watches to jewelry to eye glasses. If your smartphone and tablet are enough for your real estate needs, these new accessories may seem like nothing more than high-tech hype. However, wearables are more than apps on a tiny screen. Today, we're going to take a look at how this new wave of gadgets can be used in your real estate endeavors. Smart Watches Let's start with obvious players in the wearables scene--smart watches. While Apple Watch is the best known contender here, Android's offering, Android Wear, debuted a full year before the Apple Watch. Like Android phones, Android Wear is available from a variety of manufacturers, giving users a wider array of styles, wristbands, and watchfaces to choose from. Bonus: just days ago, Google announced that Android Wear now works with iPhones! While there are differences between Android and Apple watches, they have plenty of functionality in common. Here are a few of our favorites: 1. Stay on top of listings and leads - While there aren't a lot of real estate specific apps available for smart watches just yet, there are a few, including ones from Zillow (Android, Apple) and Trulia (Android, Apple). The apps will send push notifications right to your wrist to alert you of new leads. They offer a tactful way to stay on top of incoming portal activity without having to interrupt showings or other important moments with clients. 2. Remotely trigger your phone's camera - Sometimes you need to include yourself in a photograph and, let's face it, selfies don't exactly scream "professional." Smart watches to the rescue! The Apple Watch comes with a built-in Camera Remote app that lets you use your watch as a viewscreen for your phone's camera to frame the perfect shot. Just tap your watch to snap a photo instantly or after a 3-second delay. Once the photo's taken, it will appear on your watch. If you don't like it, take another!
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Best Apps for the Apple Watch and How it Can Help Real Estate Pros Today
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Hosting an Open House? Don't Forget Your iPad
Refreshments, flyers, business cards--the list of open house necessities goes on. Does your list include an iPad or other tablet? If not, consider it incomplete. Tablets are the Swiss-army knife of digital tools, and they can help agents wow potential buyers and capture more leads. Here's how. 1. Replace the Paper Sign-in Sheet. Toss the paper and pen and let visitors sign in on your iPad. Mobile apps like Open Home Pro, BrightOpen, and AM Open House make this a snap. Even better, they simplify capturing lead information and automatically send follow-up emails to prospects. These apps can also sync with your CRM or export contact data. 2. Help Buyers Visualize Living in the Home. Ever had visitors who love the kitchen but hate the wallpaper? Virtual reality apps like Paint Tester let prospects change the paint color of any room. Just snap a picture, pick the desired paint color, and voila--your potential buyers are one step closer to picturing themselves in your listing. Paint companies like Behr and Sherwin Williams offer similar apps. Homestyler goes one step further. This app lets you show visitors how furniture, light fixtures, rugs, and items would look in the home.
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3 Ways to Use Text Messages in Your Marketing and Client Retention Strategies
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Google’s Mobile Algorithm Set to Change April 21. Is Your Website Ready?
There are some big changes, quite possibly the biggest of all time, coming to Google's mobile search algorithm. It's being called "Mobilegeddon" and is expected to be the dawn of a new era of internet that has never been seen before. If you haven't optimized your website for mobile by the cutoff date of April 21st, you're going to be left in the dust of your competitors that already have. It would be a major understatement to say that consumers rely on mobile devices during their search for a home. In fact, 40% of Homes.com's total traffic now comes from mobile and there has been a 192% increase in mobile property leads since 2014. This means that there's a huge opportunity to grow your business if you are able to provide a mobile platform that your audience can rely on. There are more benefits that come with having a mobile-friendly website than simply creating a better experience for users on their smartphones and tablets. One of the most important advantages is the role that it plays in search engine optimization (SEO), which is the area that this new algorithm is expected to affect the most. The bottom line is this—your website will have a better chance of being discovered in mobile search results if it meets Google's mobile standards. A study conducted by Advanced Web Ranking found that the first five results featured in a Google search accounted for 67% of all clicks and the results ranked from six to 10 accounts for only 3.73%. What this shows is simple. Higher search ranking equals more traffic to your website, thus more opportunities to connect with buyers and sellers.
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4 Tips and Tools for Creating Better Cell Phone Videos
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Apple Watch For Real Estate
I am not sure what the market penetration breakdown is for Apple vs. Android phones in real estate, but suffice it to say that there is a significant number of iPhone users. Many agents report that their smartphone is among their most valuable business tools, and for good reason. Your internet connected phone lets you stay connected to every component of your business to keep you on the track to great customer service and the success that comes with it. Long gone are the days of putting an "out of office" message on your desk phone and on your email responder. This was a best practice years ago when the internet was not omnipresent and internet enabled devices were clunky to use. Let's face it, the Palm 7 was a magical device but it barely worked. Today's smartphones are now complemented by a plethora of applications that allow real estate agents to stay connected to everything in their business. The problem with being connected all of the time is that you are, um...connected all of the time. While it may be fine for teenagers to walk around staring at their phone all day long, that is not the right impression for professional real estate agents. The good news is that Apple and Google understand this. The first effort was to develop earpieces that allowed users to keep the phone in the pocket. That works great for hands-free phone calls and listening to music, but serves little more. Google took a swing with Google Glass – another promising attempt – but like the earpiece, it's a bit awkward. I purchased them and was pretty disappointed, especially by the reaction that it had on people. I always feel like someone out of a Twilight Zone or Star Trek episode. Again, not the "look" of a professional real estate agent.
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What Luxury Clients Prefer: Apple Devices and Traditional Media
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Behind a REALTORS® Digital Life: Musings from my Mobile
What REALTOR® wouldn't want to do away with paper? The beauty of being a real estate professional is engaging with clients. It's personal: you're making their dreams into a reality. Part of that reality is making sure the process leading up to home ownership is as streamlined as possible. That's where digital platforms come into play. Just as caffeine unleashes energy, digital platforms, like DocuSign's Digital Transaction Management (DTM), unleashes pure simplicity. It's only natural: when you dump paper in favor of digitized contracts, you gain speed, efficiency and peace of mind. I remember when I was an active REALTOR®. Our team of twelve relied on digital platforms, like DocuSign, to help us crack smiles on our clients' faces. If anyone has gone through the traditional process of buying a home, they'll delight in knowing they can DocuSign their way to a dream home within moments, and even on their mobile device if they so choose. Tap, tap, tap...the keys to the house are yours. Sure, the thought of digitally managing the process might raise a few eyebrows with the older generations, but note to all electronic signature providers: Keep It Simple! I cannot stress this enough in order to welcome all generations to enjoying the digital advantage.
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7 Smartphone Security Tips for Real Estate
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Travel Agents and Stockbrokers Have Been Eliminated--Are Agents Next?
Over the past few years, technology has eliminated the middleman across a multitude of industries. Airlines, hotels, and stock markets were some of the first industries to be radically disrupted by the Internet. For the first time ever, the Internet enabled consumers to easily book reservations and buy securities online without a travel agent or stockbroker. This has opened the door and set a blueprint for other companies to try and eliminate the middleman across almost every industry imaginable. Real estate is no different. Companies have tried time and time again to make buying and selling real estate easy as ordering an Über. Taking a deeper look at why companies continue to fail at eliminating real estate agents stems from the fact that real estate is not a commodity. Technology companies are very good at eliminating middlemen where the product is a commodity. An airplane seat, a hotel room, and a share of stock are all commodities. They can be bought and sold easily without any emotion involved, but you can never have the experience of walking inside a home online. People become emotionally attached to real estate. It is hard to say the same thing about an airplane seat. Real estate is often the largest investment people make in their lives, and therefore invokes a very emotional experience. People want to make sure they are making the right decision to make sure they are getting the best deal. A real estate agent helps guide consumers through the transaction process, but more importantly, an agent needs to communicate their value through building relationships and communicating a deep understanding of the local area to their clients.
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Tips for Taking Better iPhone® Photos
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How to Deal with the Booming Tablet Market
A real estate professional has an increasing amount of hardware options to choose from, and selecting one that meets your needs should be easy... right? That depends on why you're buying a tablet. Are you going to play games, listen to music, do work, or all of the above? Does your real estate-specific software work on Android? iOS? You might find your choices are overwhelming, and a majority of consumers will have similar thoughts; especially if you ever tried looking for a tablet at a 'big box' store. Your choices don't have to be so overwhelming if you ask yourself a few questions, and compare the specifications of the product you are looking to buy. 1) How am I going to use the tablet? This should be one the first and most important questions to ask yourself. Are you going to play games? Is expandable storage important? Do you need a high definition front and back facing video camera? Do you have any proprietary software you plan on using exclusively? These questions will be answered for you depending on how you plan to use your tablet. 2) Do I need the latest hardware? Depending on your questions answered above, your hardware needs might vary from an Atom processor to the upcoming Tegra K1. If expandable storage is important, look for a tablet that has it. (Expandable storage on most tablets comes from SD and microSD cards.) If you plan on using the Wifi exclusively and have access to Wifi at both work and home, you should consider if the 3G package is worth the expense.
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How Agents Should Use Their iPad
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Do Luxury Clients Prefer iPhones?
I'm captivated by this map of iPhone users in New York City. It shows where Android and iOS users are concentrated geographically. And, surprise (or not?), the lines appear to be drawn along economic lines. iPhones users (in red) coat affluent Manhattan, while Android dominates the poorer outer boroughs. The trend stays true in other locales, as well--San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London all map out according to the same income pattern. Does this mean that luxury clients prefer premium-priced iPhones over lower cost Androids? The data seem to suggest that. If you serve the luxury market, consider switching to an iPhone to better reflect the values of your client base. And be sure that your website looks good and functions properly on the platform. Similarly, any apps you offer to clients (like branded search apps, eSign, etc.) need to work flawlessly on iOS.
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Your Lead Manager is Only as Great as the Leads That Fill It
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2013: The Year of Mobile
As a tech company with a popular mobile tool, we're in a unique position to observe technology trends as the years go by – and 2013 was certainly one for the books. What we saw in 2013 was double the number of people logging into our mobile applications--a trend that continues early into 2014. More specifically, we tracked over 15 million logins, over 40 million properties viewed, and over a billion photos viewed on mobile devices. Say it with me: WOW! Let's take a moment to look a bit closer at this trend. Why Mobile? This is a "chicken or the egg" sort of question. Part of the reason we're seeing such growth in mobile is that more real estate professionals are developing a purposeful mobile strategy and implementing effective mobile tools. However, the reason they're doing so is that more consumers are using mobile as part of their real estate transaction. NAR, for example, states that over 68% of homebuyers use their mobile devices to search for homes these days. Perhaps the largest use of real estate consumer mobile activity is when prospective homebuyers use a mobile device to begin their home search. This is where we come in, with our branded property search apps. Of course, if you don't provide an MLS data-driven property search app like ours to your buyer clients, they'll be getting their data from the other apps out there or from the mobile Web. Unless they're using an MLS app or the realtor.com® app, you can't be sure that the data they are looking at is accurate or up-to-date.
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Think Boomers Hate Tech? Think Again.
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Product Review: Team Phone
VoicePad has become an established leader for mobile property marketing. Always looking for new ways to serve the real estate community, they recently rolled-out a new product offering crafted specifically for real estate teams. Team Phone is a cloud-based phone system that was built with the goal of allowing teams to be more productive and more responsive to consumers' needs. The system, which is integrated with listing data, delivers automated property information, generates leads and automates many business processes. It requires no hardware or software and works with all mobile devices. Meet VoicePad If you're unfamiliar with the concept behind VoicePad, a basic introduction may help. They offer real estate professionals an integrated mobile property marketing platform that includes: call capture (with auto-recorded audio presentations), text (to receive property information via text with links to mobile Web) and mobile Web (mobile websites featuring virtual tours, photos, interactive maps, and online searches). VoicePad currently services over 1500 offices with over 65,000 agents in approximately 200 MLSs. The goal of VoicePad's mobile marketing strategies is, of course, lead generation. And VoicePad is taking their lead generation to the next level . . . but I'm getting ahead of myself; we'll talk about that next week. Now, let's talk about Team Phone.
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Selling to Gen X and Gen Y
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Update Your Real Estate Technology
There are some 2.8 million real estate agents in the United States, and arguably most of them are using outdated equipment and technology. Agents, by nature, cannot work chained to a desk. Software designed for desktop computers is passé and not effective. But most agents haven't made the switch. Is it time for you to update your real estate technology? We've explored some related statistics before. The average agent, according to NAR and other research firms, is between the ages of 54-58 – not exactly the demographic known for its early adoption of real estate technology or technology in general. But technology is making huge inroads, as portable and mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones grow ever popular, helping to meet the need of buyers who are doing property searches in real time from their mobile phones, every day. Apple's influence, with the iPhone and iPad, has practically revolutionized parts of the real estate industry. Today, there is a firm niche for real estate software designed and developed specifically for mobile devices. These location aware apps and systems are available at a much lower price point than their desktop-based predecessors and cost a fraction of the money. Real estate agents now have the capability to work in real time, with all their business productivity software, no matter where they are.
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iPad Air Wins This Holiday Season
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Banish "One Size Fits All"
Prepare yourself for a shocker: your clients want you to listen to them. Perhaps you've heard this a few times before; but all too often, buyers and sellers feel unheard and unappreciated. Agents can fall into a "one size fits all" approach, losing their edge and their clients in the process. Instead, you can show your clients that you see them, hear them, and appreciate them by crafting a strategy that is unique to them. Need proof of how unique we all are? Just look at the way we decorate our homes. If you visit your buyer or seller clients in their home, you can't help but notice the art they've put on display, the type of furniture they've chosen, and the colors they've painted the walls. Is the style modern and minimal? Is it classic and traditional? You don't just need to extrapolate about a client's preferences based on their interior design choices. If you listen, they will tell you exactly what they like, what they dislike, and what they want from you. You can use what you learn to create a unique strategy for their real estate purchase or sale. How It's Done There are countless opportunities for customization in your dealings with buyers or sellers, many of which are possible through technology. Here are just three examples.
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Friday Freebie: Mobile Listing Builder from realtor.com®
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How to Gain Mobile Market Share and Minimize your Lost Customers
Dan shops for real estate from his desktop. That's how he found you. He visited your real estate website, submitted a lead, and you answered. You've worked with him for several months and he just hasn't found the right house for his family yet. Dan is also a mobile customer. He checks his email from his smartphone, searches homes while waiting in line at the local coffee shop, and occasionally relies on his smartphone to look up listings for sale in the area he drove through. Dan is your customer...but only half the time. When shopping from his desktop, he's using your website and the resources you've provided him. When shopping from his mobile phone, he found your desktop website difficult to navigate. The property search was hard to locate and use. The font was too small. He had to scroll side to side too much, even when zooming. And all those elements designed in Flash don't display, while some of those in JavaScript don't render correctly on his smaller smartphone screen. He can't even find your website when Googling it from his smartphone, because your desktop-optimized site doesn't rank well in mobile searches. He has since found a mobile-optimized website that he likes much better, but it's not yours. When trying to get quick answers on properties, he has found it much easier to submit them through that website rather than copy the MLS number and contact you about them.
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Lose the Paperwork, Build Your Business With the iPad
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Friday Freebie: Guide to Mobile Engagement
The explosion of mobile devices has changed how consumers search for real estate. More importantly, it's transformed how your website generates leads. Think that prospect who couldn't access your site on their iPhone will visit again from their laptop? Think again. The truth is, if your site isn't optimized for mobile, you're missing out on a huge number of leads. Mobile is an intimidating world, and it can be hard to know where to begin. In this week's Friday Freebie, we highlight a guide that can show you exactly where to start. Download a free whitepaper from Delta Media Group Delta Media Group started seeing dramatic changes in consumers' online search behavior starting in 2010. "Those changes in behavior are maturing now," said Delta CEO Mike Minard in a recent interview. "The method in which REALTORS® need to engage these customers is different." To get agents and brokers up to speed on these changes, Delta has released an informative white paper that's easy to read, regardless of your level of tech savvy. "The Mobile Customer Experience: Trending, Optimization, and Application" explores recent trends in online engagement, backed by traffic statistics from over 35,000 websites. In this free paper, agents and brokers will learn more about: Mobile engagement trends Measuring client expectations Mobile web vs. apps Click here to download the white paper now!
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Agents: Avoid Client Dissatisfaction
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Friday Freebie: Mobile Listing Marketing Platform from realtor.com®
Bridge the gap between your offline and online marketing efforts. Realtor.com®'s mobile microsite builder enables you to instantly connect with interested homebuyers who see your listing's yard sign, print flyers, and more. Free Mobile Listing Builder from realtor.com® Today's mobile user expects instant access to information from wherever they are. Provide potential buyers what they want with a mobile microsite from realtor.com®. The sites are a snap to create with realtor.com®'s Mobile Listing Builder. In about 30 seconds, you can make an informative microsite that tells consumers all about your listing and how to contact you! Print the automatically generated QR code on your yard signs, flyers, and other marketing materials. Buyers can instantly scan the code with their smartphone to access information on your mobile microsite. You can also use the included short URL to drive traffic to your site via text or social media. Click here to learn more about building a property-specific mobile microsite.
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The Thin Line Between Great and Not-So-Great Real Estate Marketers
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Use "SoLoMo" Marketing to Speed Up Your Exposure
How often do you use your mobile device to search for local information or to check out what's happening on a social media site? If you are like most Americans, it's probably all the time. In fact, one half of local searches are performed on the mobile web, while 91 percent of mobile access is for social activities. But did you know that this could affect your business? This is why the SoLoMo concept is making a buzz in the marketing worl. It is also why Homes.com is conducting a survey to see how real estate professionals are using the Social-Local-Mobile strategy to advertise their business. Although there are many different means of promoting a business, Homes.com is here to explain that real estate professionals should take advantage of SoLoMo and why it's not just another short lived marketing trend. What is SoLoMo? An acronym for Social-Local-Mobile, it combines social media, geo-targeting and mobile communication so that marketers can identify and connect with consumers even easier. This concept resulted from the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets that are being integrated with advance geo-location technology. Already being used by applications like FourSquare, geo-location provides search engines with a user's real-time location and incorporates the information being shared on social channels to supply the best search results.
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Changing Consumer Expectations: Three Ways to Adapt
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How Real Estate Agents are Using Mobile Technology
Guest contributor Properties Online says: 2012 was a big year for mobile technology and social media use – especially in the real estate sector. Mobile technology has been called a 'Game Changer' for the modern REALTOR®, and social media offers a promising return on investment. Let's take a closer look at just how real estate agents are using mobile technology and social media. A Look at Mobile Technology The most popular device purchased by real estate agents in 2012 was a smartphone (44 percent), followed by tablets (27 percent) and laptops (19 percent). According to Pew Research's study "Mobile is the needle; Social is the thread," internet use in the U.S. has increased from 14 percent to 82 percent since 1995. Eighty-five percent of adults in America have a cellphone, of which 45 percent use smartphones, two-thirds are wireless internet users, and slightly over 66 percent of online adults use social media. The survey also revealed that: 83% of REALTORS® believe mobile technology has enhanced their real estate business 92% of real estate agents believe mobile technology has increased their efficiency 63% of REALTORS® believe they need the latest technology for their real estate business Real estate is about relationships and locations – it is not best served by being chained to an office or a desk. Mobile technology frees the real estate agent to work and connect with clients where ever and whenever.
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DOs and DON’Ts of Texting for Real Estate Agents
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Responsive Websites for Real Estate
This post comes to us from BrokerageU: Since the addition of smartphones, the entire world of websites has had to keep up. Initially, mobile optimization was easily the least important aspect of a website; however, this school of thought has recently shifted almost 100% in the opposite direction. In the past there were two main choices for the presentation of your website: you would have your main web-ready site, and then another completely different site created for mobile. Next, there came the ability to optimize your main site for mobile, meaning that the user is able to navigate the site no matter what device they choose to use without getting a huge headache. The feature that I'm really excited right now is the world of Responsive Web Design. You can begin to see these sites pop up in more and more places, including in the real estate industry. It is absolutely crucial for you as an agent to offer your leads and clients the most simple to use system possible. The goal here is to do whatever you can to simplify the way that prospects can search for homes and view listings in the shortest amount of time. What exactly is a responsive website? It's one single platform that will tailor its performance to respond to its environment. The actual display and organization of the site content is completely dependent upon which device and browser size that the customer is using.
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The Impact of Increasingly Mobile Technology on Real Estate Pros
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Responsive Design: All platforms, all users
It's becoming increasingly apparent that the future of computing is moving from one type of screen – traditional computer monitors – to many types of screens with a plethora of different sizes and resolutions. Smartphone and tablet sales are outpacing PCs, and innovative web-browsing technologies, like Google Glass and the iWatch, appear to be on the horizon. What does this mean for websites everywhere? To stay ahead of the curve, you need a site that looks good and functions well on any and all devices. It's time to take steps towards responsive design. In fact, Mashable.com – one of the Internet's most popular news and technology blogs – has declared 2013 the "year of responsive web design." What Is It? Responsive design is the practice of creating a website that provides an optimal viewing experience across all devices. Responsive web designs resize and reformat page content in response to screen size and resolution. More Views, Higher Quality Responsive websites reach more consumers because they tend to appear higher in search engine rankings. Why? Because they have a single URL, instead of multiple URLs for different versions of a site. This makes it easier for crawlers to discover and eventually index content. Responsive sites also load faster than mobile sites because mobile sites have to be redirected to the mobile URL. Responsive sites do not have to be redirected. Faster load times can boost your search result rankings.
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Don't Use A Cell Phone For Photos Of Your Listings
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Learn how to be a Paperless Agent™ with the GoodLife Team and RE Technology!
"I've begun to wonder how many agents who own iPads actually know how to use it in their business. I've speculated that the majority of these agents do not. Anyone can buy an app from the app store – that's a piece of cake – but what they're missing is the knowledge of what to do with the application once it's been downloaded." -- Krisstina Wise, Why You Must Be A Paperless Agent RE Technology is proud to present a free webinar with Krisstina and Garry Wise of the GoodLife Team next Wednesday, January 23. Whether you're an iPad expert or a rookie, you'll learn how to use your tablet for everything from home tours, listings presentations, transaction management, and more! See the video below to learn more about becoming a Paperless Agent™, then register for the webinar.
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Best of 2012: 6 Apps Every Homebuyer Needs When Buying a House
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Best of 2012: Why You Must Be A Paperless Agent
We're celebrating the end the year by counting down our 10 most engaging articles of 2012. This article, by Krisstina Wise, was posted in December and is #8 in our countdown. A Ubiquitous Gadget Over the past 12 months, I've traveled the country speaking at real estate conferences on the importance of mobile technologies and practices to the future of real estate agents. Because the smartphone, and now iPad, are becoming ubiquitous gadgets that agents own, there is no shortage of platform speeches on subjects like, "Top 10 Apps for Your Real Estate Business." Yet, despite the number of mobile themed topics being presented, I've begun to wonder how many agents who own iPads actually know how to use it in their business. I've speculated that the majority of these agents do not. Anyone can buy an app from the app store – that's a piece of cake – but what they're missing is the knowledge of what to do with the application once it's been downloaded. The Big Reveal To test my theory, I opened my last conference talk with this question to the audience (about 400 agents), "How many of you own an iPad or a tablet?" Nearly every hand went up.
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Monday Morning Mobile: The Money’s in Mobile
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iPhone 5 Hails and Fails for Real Estate Professionals
The countdown is over and the iPhone 5 has surfaced. Have you made the purchase? Or are you thinking about it? Apple sold over five million of these amazing pieces of machinery in just three days! Woah! Did you know that analysts were expecting between $6 – 10 million in sales? The iPhone 5 is a major hardware upgrade, while the 4S was only a software upgrade. Not to mention--it looks pretty snazzy. The 5 is slimmer and taller with a bigger screen for better viewing. Get ready, it's the first iPhone to be compatible with 4G, so it's much faster, too! With all the hype, there are some negatives that real estate agents should be aware of. Homes.com asked around and did some research, including input from our friends at Inman News, and have compiled a list of "iPhone 5 Hails and Fails." HAILS Faster: Thanks to "Long-Term Evolution" (LTE) network speed and the quickness of in-phone functionality. This has prompted agents to cut down on iPad use. The larger screen requires users to zoom in less than on the iPhone 4S, which is really convenient for agents to review and prepare contracts.
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Today’s Tech Savvy Home Buyer
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A Guide to Mobile Photography for Real Estate
With the quality of mobile phone cameras on the rise, real estate agents may be wondering if they can or should use them in their real estate business. After all, "the best camera is the one that's with you," and cell phones offer the ultimate in on-the-go convenience. The Do's and Don'ts of Mobile Photos There's no doubt that smartphones are great for social media or for sending casual snapshots to clients, but are they appropriate for things like listing photos? That depends. As the first thing potential leads see when considering a property, it's imperative that the quality of your listing photos is top notch. While experienced photographers who understand proper lighting may be able to capture great images from a high-end mobile camera (see this example), the lower resolution of even the best phones makes mobile photos a poor choice for use in listings. Likewise, most phones are unable to take photos with a resolution that's high enough for print materials like postcards or flyers. Stick with your regular camera for important things like listings or marketing collateral--or, better yet, hire a professional. (If you have something like a Samsung Galaxy II or the new iPhone 5, you may get away with it.)
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Did You Miss our iPad Webinar?
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Budget Season: Will You Be Making These 3 Marketing Expenses?
I recently spotted an article on Mashable that listed three marketing expenses as "must-haves" for the upcoming budget season. I'm going to discuss each and then ask you to weigh-in on whether or not they'll appear in your budget. 1) Social Media What should you be doing? According to Mashable, you'll want to look at your current social media presence to determine if you are optimally represented. If you don't have a profile on any of the primary social networks, or if you've been inactive on any of these networks, it's time to step things up. Begin to post regularly. This may mean creating content on your blog or website and then feeding links to that content to social media profiles – that's content marketing, which we'll talk about next. You may also want to consider advertising on social media (i.e. "promoted posts" on Facebook). Where's the expense? For many agents, there may not be any direct costs associated with social media marketing; instead, the expense lies in the resources you'll need to allocate. For instance, you'll need to spend some of your own time or that of an employee in order to build your social media presence. Direct costs might come from advertising on social media, if you decide that makes sense for you. 2) Content Marketing What should you be doing? Content marketing is exactly what it sounds like – creating and sharing content (i.e. on a blog or website) to educate and inform, while at the same time marketing yourself, your services, or your individual listings (in the case of real estate professionals). This content may take the form of a written article, a video, a podcast, photos, an infographic, or . . . (you take it from here; let your imagination run wild). Where's the expense? If you don't have the time or the inclination to create content on your own, you may need to hire someone else to do it. If that "someone" is already a member of your staff, the expense is represented in the use of their time. However, it's not uncommon to outsource content creation. RISMedia's RESource is a great example of a service that can help with this.
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Making the Right Impression: iPad Listing Presentations That Dazzle
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Tablets: The Future of (Digital) Advertising
It's the attack of the tablet. Selling at an incredible rate since the launch of the iPad in 2010, tablets are rapidly changing digital advertising. In fact, we're about to experience a new golden age of advertising. It's content (and advertising) on-demand wherever you are. It's swipeable, slideable, pinchable, zoomable and scrollable, too. It's tactile. So what sets the tablet apart for an advertiser? Larger than a smartphone and more personal than a TV screen, tablets and the growing technology surrounding them offer a whole new world of advertising possibilities. Video on a decent screen size with high-resolution (that's mobile) provides a much richer experience. As a result, more and more people are consuming content on tablets. The tactility of the tablet offers advertisers the chance to engage users in a physical way that's more intriguing than simply digesting information on a screen. Not only will ads become more interactive, but advertising will take advantage of targeted demographics, location, movement, high-resolution screens, video and personalization. Consumers aren't heading to web pages to look at ads; they want the content they searched for. With tablet capabilities such as over-the-page ad units, advertising messages can be conveyed without taking consumers away from their content.
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Top-Ranking Smartphones from Consumer Reports
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Top-Ranking Tablets from Consumer Reports
The August 2012 issue of Consumer Reports ranks some important real estate technology tools: Smartphones, laptops, cameras and (our subject today) tablets. We'll be dripping out some of their key findings to help those of you who haven't made these important purchases yet or are looking to upgrade. Let's talk tablets! With our upcoming webinar, "WOW Your Clients with Your iPad," we've had tablets on the brain. So we were particularly interested in seeing which brands and models Consumer Reports recommended. iPad Receives Top Score The third generation 10-inch Apple iPad with 4G and 16GB receives the highest overall score of any tablet Consumer Reports reviewed. Why does this model receive such high marks? Consumer Reports touts the excellent display, realistic colors, great camera, long battery life, and extensive app store. If you already have an iPhone, you should seriously consider leaning in this direction because all of your apps will populate to your iPad and you will not need to learn anything new. Looking to spend less money? The prior-generation iPad 2 also receives excellent marks and earns the accolade of "the best deal available for the iPad" from Consumer Reports with an overall score of 80 for Wi-Fi only and 82 for 3G.
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Selling on the Go: Top 5 Smartphone Features for Agents
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Native vs. Web Apps (And Beyond)
The term "mobile app" may be broader than you think. There are actually a few variations on the theme of applications for mobile devices. While the differences between these types of apps are of pivotal importance to those that design them, they will also have an impact on you (the end user) as well. So let's unpack the nuances of the different types of mobile applications and discuss how they affect real estate agents. 1) Native Apps Native apps are built separately for each unique platform (for example, the iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.). Some companies choose to develop a native app for only a single platform, while others will create apps for most platforms. Native apps were the first to hit the market and are what most people thinking of when they hear the term "mobile app." GoPaperless Solutions is one of the companies that have chosen to develop a native app for the iPad. We had a chance to speak with Mehrdad Alaei of GoPaperless to get his take on making this decision. For him, one of the primary benefits of a native app is that it can better leverage the strengths of each platform.
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